But, Dameon Pierce responds with 98-yard kick return
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Amari Cooper and Joe Flacco are showing off their chemistry in Houston. But the Texans put together a strong response to the duo’s second long hookup of the day, Myles Simmons reports for Pro Football Talk.
Cooper caught a 75-yard touchdown to give Cleveland a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter. But Houston kick returner Dameon Pierce returned the ensuing kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown to cut Cleveland’s lead back to just seven points.
Flacco hit Cooper with a 53-yard deep pass on the Browns’ first play from scrimmage, but the Browns’ offense hadn’t done much since. Then early in the second quarter, Flacco dropped back and found Cooper again deep down the left side. Cooper caught the pass 43 yards in front of the line of scrimmage and ran the rest of the way for his fourth touchdown of the season.
But on the kickoff, Pierce fielded the ball on the left side, crossed through the coverage team to the right and flew by all the players in orange pants to score. It was just the third kick returned for a touchdown in the entire 2023 season.
Already dealing with plenty of injuries, Houston’s defense has three starters go down early in the contest. Edge rusher Jonathan Greenard (ankle), cornerback Steven Nelson (foot), and safety Jimmie Ward (quad) are all questionable to return.